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I have an extended piece in the Weekly Standard on the Montana judge declaring it a “fundamental right” do “die with dignity”—e.g. to poison oneself with prescribed drugs—which as I noted in an earlier SHS posting about this, may be the only time that an advocacy propaganda phrase was elevated in a court ruling to the status of a constitutional right.

In the piece I point out that much of the decision is, essentially about metaphysical opinions and concepts. From the piece:
A premise of McCarter’s ruling is that people have the right to decide for themselves what constitutes “dignity” according to their personal beliefs.
After quoting the authorities she relied on—which would be too long to reproduce here—I state:

In essence, Judge McCarter ruled that the individual’s right to act upon such metaphysical beliefs trumps all but the most compelling state interests. But if that is so, how can assisted suicide possibly be limited to the terminally ill? Many people suffer more profoundly—and for longer—than people who are dying. Thus, once the right to end suffering through “death with dignity” is deemed “fundamental,” how can people with debilitating chronic illnesses, the elderly who are profoundly tired of living, those in despair after becoming paralyzed, or indeed anyone in other than transitory existential agony be denied the same constitutional right as the terminally ill to end it all? [snip]

And why should the participation of doctors be limited to writing lethal prescriptions? Once they are relieved of liability under Montana’s homicide statutes, shouldn’t doctors be permitted to provide lethal injections—particularly since studies from the Netherlands demonstrate that active euthanasia is less likely than assisted suicide to cause disturbing side effects, such as nausea and extended coma? Moreover, why require doctors at all? It’s my life, so why shouldn’t I choose to be killed by whomever I want?

This means “choice” will eventually rule all, right? Wrong!

Judicial activism is really about imposing upon the rest of us the mores and social values favored by liberal intellectual elites—whose interests the courts tend to serve and whose views they reflect. And while personal autonomy and an end to moralizing are certainly a large part of this agenda, they aren’t the crux of it.

Just as the personal behaviors favored by the liberal intelligentsia are being transformed by courts into constitutionally protected activities, the personal behaviors disfavored by these same powerful forces are likely to be held controllable by the state. Thus, courts probably won’t protect the conscience rights of medical professionals who do not wish to be complicit in abortion or assisted suicide—even though to be consistent, these choices should be entitled to the same constitutional protection under the “mystery of life” analysis as any other.

Cases [such as Baxter] are really part of a slow motion coup de culture, a steady drive to topple the social order rooted in Judeo-Christian/humanistic moral philosophy and replace it with a dramatically different value system founded in utilitarianism, hedonism, and radical environmentalism. Once that process is complete, the courts will quickly make it clear that “choice” has limits.

We see this paradigm on issues that are both relevant to and beyond the scope of SHS. If society wants to go in these directions, courts should led the people decide. Otherwise, we are going to be torn apart.

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